For the fishing enthusiasts of the world, Lake Nipissing is synonymous with muskies—big ones. It's big water with big spots, and throughout the musky world, Lake Nipissing has a reputation for holding some of the largest muskies throughout Ontario, Canada. This fall we stayed at Bear Creek Cottages, and once again Lake Nipissing did not disappoint.
Bear Creek Cottages is located in South Bay on Lake Nipissing, which is approximately 3.5 hours north of Toronto and is just south of the town of North Bay. When we arrived, and during the first day of filming The Musky Hunter, the conditions were sunny, warm, and flat calm. These conditions were unexpected for Lake Nipissing in the fall, yet they were extremely enjoyable. I was fishing with pro guide Danny Columby and Shawn Degagne, who owns Bear Creek Cottages and also guides on the lake. We fished a series of island and rock humps and managed to catch a couple of nice fish, lose a few and see several. Best of all, with the calm conditions we were able to fish in many different spots throughout South Bay. It was an incredibly enjoyable day on the water.
The next day, Lake Nipissing decided to be its usual self. We had an incoming front with the wind predicted to shift from the south to the north. It was classic musky weather, but we knew that by the end of the day the wind was supposed to howl and the temperature was going to drop 20 degrees! We dodged some storms and casted several different spots managing to boat a couple of muskies fishing weed beds. However, as the wind picked up, we knew it was time to start trolling. So Danny suggested a prime trolling area, and away we went.
As we awaited the start of a daily moon period, we knew we would get a shot before the winds picked up and the waves got too big. As we trolled across the top of a shallow reef, a rod went off and we caught a nice 44-incher. Confident in the trolling speed and depth, we stuck with the pattern. As we approached another reef, a reel went off. The sound was so loud I initially thought we were snagged, but a quick glance at the depth finder told me it was no snag. I grabbed the rod and I could feel the giant head shakes from the monster musky. The fish rushed the boat and stayed deep. It was a challenge landing the fish in the big waves which had also developed. However, Shawn did an excellent job getting the musky into the net. Within minutes we unhooked, measured, and released the 53-inch, 40-pound class musky. It was an awesome fish to close the episode, and something I will never forget.
Casting or trolling on Lake Nipissing is best around many of the islands and reefs. You’ll find the islands have a variety of rocky points and lush cabbage beds. The shallow reefs are mostly broken rock and can hold muskies all season long. When casting focus on the tops of the rocks, but when trolling, work the edges and the area immediately adjacent to the reefs. Keep fishing a good-looking spot and sooner or later you will contact muskies. As far as lure colors, anything that looks like a perch or walleye is a sure bet. Plus, you can’t go wrong with anything black.
Boating giant muskies from Lake Nipissing is not easy, but it's something I have been fortunate to experience on several occasions. South Bay is known for producing some of the largest muskies on the Lake. Bear Creek Cottages is wind-protected and right next to some of the best musky fishing on the lake. Shawn Degagne is a great host in that he guides and knows the lake extremely well. Both Shawn and guide Danny Columby can really help anyone get dialed into the Lake Nipissing muskies. Bear Creek Cottages has its own boat launch, a great docking system and the cottages are extremely comfortable. Plus, the sunsets from the beach at the resort are amazing. If you are looking for a relaxing vacation, or better yet a big musky adventure, Bear Creek Cottages on Lake Nipissing is the place to stay.